WordPress.org

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Opened 16 months ago

Last modified 7 days ago

#4007 new defect

Support Forums: Improve the look and usability of Forums page

Reported by: joyously Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Support Forums Keywords: ui-feedback needs-design
Cc:

Description

The Forums page https://wordpress.org/support/forums/ has a look that is very similar to the Support home page, and is confusing because it is. It would be better as a compact list than as big squares of white space. It should be giving the overview of the forums, yet it can't be seen without scrolling a lot.

Also, the 3 squares at the top (with icons) are not the focus of the page, but all you can see "above the fold". I suggest they be moved to the bottom. Their icons could be made smaller also.

I have attached a screenshot of a quick rearrangement.

Attachments (5)

Forums WordPress.jpg (161.0 KB) - added by joyously 16 months ago.
This is how I think it looks better and more useful.
4007.png (46.8 KB) - added by SergeyBiryukov 16 months ago.
forum-index.png (328.9 KB) - added by JarretC 5 months ago.
I messed around with the CSS a bit tonight and came up with this, opinions?
google_forum.png (256.3 KB) - added by dufresnesteven 11 days ago.
Google Forum
mastodon_forum.png (285.9 KB) - added by dufresnesteven 11 days ago.
Mastodon Forum

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (30)

@joyously
16 months ago

This is how I think it looks better and more useful.

#1 @joyously
16 months ago

I forgot to mention that the current page has no title. I added the title in my screenshot.

@SergeyBiryukov
16 months ago

#2 in reply to: ↑ description @SergeyBiryukov
16 months ago

Replying to joyously:

The Forums page https://wordpress.org/support/forums/ has a look that is very similar to the Support home page, and is confusing because it is. It would be better as a compact list than as big squares of white space. It should be giving the overview of the forums, yet it can't be seen without scrolling a lot.

I agree. Previously there was a list, linked to from the header (#2455), which was much easier to browse, for me at least: 4007.png.

This was changed with the introduction of HelpHub templates in [7835]. I'd like to restore that list somewhere.

Also, the 3 squares at the top (with icons) are not the focus of the page, but all you can see "above the fold". I suggest they be moved to the bottom. Their icons could be made smaller also.

Related: #2570

#3 @joyously
16 months ago

Here is a surrogate vote for changing this page, from https://wordpress.org/support/topic/default-end-of-post-text-in-gutenberg-how/#post-11014024

Stumbled across the ability to create a new topic once again.

The key is to skip past the “Welcome to Support” link (so appealing, so right there…)
and go down to one of the “View Forum” links. That takes you to an actual forum, where you can review and create topics!

(Writing these notes for myself, so I’ll remember them!)

#4 @dd32
16 months ago

  • Keywords ui-feedback added

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #forums by joyously. View the logs.


15 months ago

#6 @sterndata
15 months ago

I just find the layout of the page diminishes the support forums. You have to scroll down past other stuff that has nothing to do with forums. And the spacing and white space obscures the fact that there is content further down.

However, I suspect most people find the forums via a Google search.
which leads to https://wordpress.org/support/, on which the forums are, again, hidden at the bottom of a p;age with too much white space and way down where people are unlikely to see them.

Were it my page, https://wordpress.org/support/forums/, there'd be a lot less white space because it's just really difficult to read and there's a lot of extraneous (and overly large) white space. I'd have gone for two columns, forums and descriptions on the left and welcome, documentation, and get involved on the right.

Last edited 15 months ago by sterndata (previous) (diff)

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #meta by joyously. View the logs.


15 months ago

#8 @SergeyBiryukov
14 months ago

The issue with the current layout is that it doesn’t really look like a list of interactive forums at a glance, and people are mistaking it for an index of static content.

Per the latest Meta meeting, the consensus was to move the 3 columns at the top below the list of forums and see if that improves discoverability. Additionally, I think removing some excess padding as suggested in #2570 would help here.

As a next step, we could look into adding topic and post counts, as seen previously in 4007.png.

If the grid layout is still too difficult to scan whereas a list layout would be easier, a redesign to make the usability better is also an option.

#9 follow-up: @Clorith
14 months ago

The list view may not be ideal here, it was a fallback previously that could only be reached via a single breadcrumb link that hadn't been rewritten yet.

Some aspects that should be maintained moving forward that we'll lose here is things like the top three call to actions, stats show that almost 25% of all visitors to the forums go to the forum welcome from there for example, which is how we surface the guidelines, FAQ and so on.

Some design/UX person may need to have a look over here and see if we can find a better way of surfacing that information first before users go on to post if we are making changes to this area.

#10 @WP.org
12 months ago

I posted a related comment here -- https://wordpress.org/support/topic/fixing-this-confusing-and-frustrating-site/ -- and was guided to this post by a helpful reply from @joyously.

The question of whether the site currently 'works' or not can be answered in mere moments by anyone. Find a friend or family member who has not visited the site, start them at the home page, then tell them to find a given forum -- or any forum -- for posting a question.

In less than five minutes they will try to kill you.

#11 in reply to: ↑ 9 @JarretC
12 months ago

Replying to Clorith:

Some aspects that should be maintained moving forward that we'll lose here is things like the top three call to actions, stats show that almost 25% of all visitors to the forums go to the forum welcome from there for example, which is how we surface the guidelines, FAQ and so on.

Go to the forum welcome from where exactly? Meaning that those visitors that end up at say https://wordpress.org/support/forum/installation/ are ones that clicked on either the Installing WordPress header or clicked on the link for that section?

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #meta by joyously. View the logs.


12 months ago

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #docs by joyously. View the logs.


12 months ago

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #meta by joyously. View the logs.


9 months ago

#15 @tellyworth
9 months ago

  • Keywords needs-design added

@JarretC
5 months ago

I messed around with the CSS a bit tonight and came up with this, opinions?

#17 @sterndata
5 months ago

Very nice, Joy. A page for forums should prominently feature them. Your design works for me.

#18 follow-up: @Clorith
5 months ago

I'm not sold on this, it feels overfilled and messy. I'd like the design team to look over it for UI/UX (the ticket is tagged for this already, but they're a team with limited time), keep also in mind all other open tickets that reference the display of the forums list in some manner, of which there are a few (#1952, #2695, #4117 and #4428 come to mind at least).

That's not to say the suggestions aren't welcome, only that I'd like it to go through the correct steps for what is a rather prominent page.

#19 @joyously
5 months ago

Jarret, I like it. I suppose it would look more like mine on a small window.
But then, I like Sergey's also.
anything to get rid of that grid of huge icons

#20 in reply to: ↑ 18 ; follow-up: @JarretC
5 months ago

Replying to Clorith:

I'm not sold on this, it feels overfilled and messy. I'd like the design team to look over it for UI/UX (the ticket is tagged for this already, but they're a team with limited time), keep also in mind all other open tickets that reference the display of the forums list in some manner, of which there are a few (#1952, #2695, #4117 and #4428 come to mind at least).

That's not to say the suggestions aren't welcome, only that I'd like it to go through the correct steps for what is a rather prominent page.

Not sure which design you're referring to as there are 3 of them listed on this ticket. If you're referring to mine, this is how the majority of every other forum software displays their forum list. Sergey's is even closer to what all the others use as his show the counts.

Even if it is overfilled and messy, this is what people come to expect when they look at a forum as that is what everybody else does as well. Shouldn't we tailor the experience to what people are used to instead of trying to re-invent the wheel and train them to learn something new?

As far as needing the design team's input, what if the current 3 proposed solutions were submitted by designers?

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #forums by sergey. View the logs.


8 weeks ago

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #forums by joyously. View the logs.


12 days ago

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #design by joyously. View the logs.


12 days ago

#24 in reply to: ↑ 20 @dufresnesteven
11 days ago

For me, putting the Grid view vs List View aside for a moment, this page appears to be using a common "Knowledge Base" pattern which makes sense in a world where information is updated infrequently by very few authors. Forums on the other hand are active, and user driven. This page should reflect that attitude. We should totally look to liven it up and in doing so, i think we will feel like the content itself will be more engaging and easier to use.

Here are some examples:

[Google Support Forum]https://support.google.com/chrome/community?hl=en
They use a grid view, like we do, but instead they show questions from the forum. It allows me as someone seeking answers to compare the question I have in my head with others. The short blurbs we currently have don't help me do that well. Also to note, they use the same concept in a list view elsewhere in their knowledge base (collapsible list).

[Mastodon]https://discourse.joinmastodon.org/latest
This approach is not unique to Mastodon (stackoverflow, etc.) and very similar to what @SergeyBiryukov posted.

Also, forums have moved away from categories seeing that we are trying to bring the most important information to the top of the stack and the forums/topics with the most interactions are typically relevant to the most amount of users (i know, can sometimes be misleading).

Note: They also have a category view: https://discourse.joinmastodon.org/categories). It's hard to use.

Thoughts
With that being said, I don't have my feet planted on this one. I kinda like how Google is doing it since its not a big stretch from where we are. I also think that it would be a fun experiment.

Image Examples Attached Below

@dufresnesteven
11 days ago

Google Forum

@dufresnesteven
11 days ago

Mastodon Forum

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #forums by carike. View the logs.


7 days ago

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